Shooting in a pool is fun and often rewarding, especially if you shoot at night and have the lighting right. Water spray behind the model with a Speed Light hitting her from behind through the sparkling water is wonderful. But pools are not often available. And I've often wondered what it would be like to have studio lighting safely around a pool and have total control. Indoor pools are even less available. Sooooo..
One day I was helping Linda with some grocery shopping, now thinking of ice cream cones and pork chops, and I spied a display of lawn fun for the kids. Yeah, you can even buy motor oil in grocery stores these days. My mind is never far from photographic opportunities so when I spotted a rather large blow up pool I just had to investigate.
Last summer I looked for a pool that was inflatable yet tall enough to immerse a model. No luck. Now I'm looking at one that is exactly what I was hoping to find. If I'd had one built for the studio this would be exactly the size. Perfection!
I picked one up and set it up on the patio. I didn't want to fill the thing in the studio and find out it wasn't going to hold the water. Not good. So, filled it up and sure enough, it started bending on one side a bit and eventually let some water out. While draining it some I found the maximum fill line....about 6 inches below where I had filled it. Manuals? Who needs manuals?
So, next was to test out the sump pump. You need one of these to drain it from the studio. Mine needed work and after some poking at it I got it to work smoothly. Dropped it into the pool and it sucked all the water out about as fast as it filled it. About 25 minutes each way.
Now, to actually use it. I planned to shoot with a black sheet in it and then a white sheet so I could see how the water reflected and what options worked best.
On the black I used only Speed Lights around the pool for both safety and to keep the lighting more specular with smaller points to reflect off the water. On the white I assumed this wasn't really an option and I was right. Almost no reflection when shooting at a low angle. With white I found shooting straight down worked best AND I used studio lighting. BUT, the lighting was attached to the beam above with zero chance to fall into the water. If I'd wanted other studio lighting around the pool that ran from AC I would have run an extension cord from the ground fault outlet outside since that is designed to save lives with electricity around water. SAFETY ALWAYS FIRST!
So, setting it up and taking it down hasn't really been a problem. I use a battery operated inflator so even that part was just a bit time consuming but painless. Other than the models freezing their bottoms everything has worked as I expected. (and models in discomfort often have better expressions anyhow, so hey, win-win) Now to fine tune the angles and lighting to get as much effect from having water as possible.
Oh, and bringing in the hose with a sprayer to make it rain or mist around the model was also tried and should work well in future projects.
Thank you Alanna and Cassandra for humoring this old artist. Your goose bumps needed a workout anyhow.